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Research Report

The context of REDD+ in the Lao Peopleʹs Democratic Republic: Drivers, agents and institutions

Guillaume Lestrelin
Michael Trockenbrodt
Khamla Phanvilay
Sithong Thongmanivong
Thoumthone Vongvisouk
Pham Thu Thuy
Jean-Christophe Castella
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2013
Pages: 66
OPEN ACCESS
https://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep02218
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-2)

    Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation plus conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+) has become increasingly complex and controversial in the years since Costa Rica and Papua New Guinea introduced the concept at the 11th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Montreal in December 2005. As REDD+ has evolved, it has come to be expected to generate not only financial incentives for developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sustain economic growth by halting or preventing the destruction of their forests, but...

  2. (pp. 3-17)

    Since 1982, the average annual rate of deforestation in Laos has amounted to approximately 0.7% (76,000 ha/year), reducing the national forest cover from 49% in 1982 to 45% in 1992 and 41.5% in 2002. According to preliminary data from the latest national forest cover assessment (undertaken in 2010 but not yet officially released), about 40% of the country (9,500,000 ha) is estimated to be forest, natural or planted.

    Laos’ 2007 Forestry Law does not define “forest”, but its forest cover assessments generally define forest as an area spanning at least 0.5 ha, of which at least 20% of the crown...

  3. (pp. 18-26)

    Laos is not a member of the International Timber Trade Organization, and neither has it been prominent in the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF). However, as a member of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), it has contributed to the design of regional strategies communicated during UNFF meetings, such as the ASEAN work plan 2008–2015 for Strengthening Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) and the ASEAN common position paper on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) in Developing Countries (2008). Following the Bali Declaration in 2007, government representatives attended meetings for the East Asia and...

  4. (pp. 27-30)

    In this section, we investigate the political-economic factors underlying the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation to identify enabling factors and obstacles for REDD+ policies. Land and forest policy and governance in Laos have undergone major transformations during the past three decades, fueled by successive changes in the government’s political-economic strategies for state building and socioeconomic development. As discussed by Lestrelin et al. (2012), three political-economic projects in particular, which started at different times but which all continue to the present, have influenced the dynamics of deforestation and forest degradation in the country: Moving People from the Hills (launched 1975),...

  5. (pp. 31-40)

    The government of Laos ratified the UNFCCC in 1995 and the Kyoto Protocol in February 2003 (GoL 2010). In 2007, a Prime Ministerial Decree was issued pertaining to the regulation of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) activities in Laos. The decree defined the Water Resources and Environmental Agency (WREA) as the designated national authority responsible for approval of CDM projects. With the creation of MoNRE in June 2011 and the merging of WREA into the new ministry, the CDM Executive Board was moved into MoNRE.

    A National Environmental Council was established in October 2008, chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister and...

  6. (pp. 41-44)

    In this section, we consider the main implications of the context in Laos for achieving effectiveness, efficiency and equity (the “3Es”) in REDD+. Here, “effectiveness” refers to the magnitude of the reduction in carbon emissions, defined as the difference between the volume of emissions with and without REDD+ interventions. Assessing effectiveness therefore requires (1) accurate and verifiable measurements of actual emissions with REDD+, (2) predictions of what would have happened without REDD+ and (3) estimates of potentially undesirable side effects in space (leakage) and time (permanence) and on other mitigation activities. “Efficiency” refers to whether the emission reductions are achieved...

  7. (pp. 45-45)

    The government of Laos has long viewed deforestation and forest degradation as important policy issues. However, the various regulations and land reform and planning programs created to address deforestation and forest degradation have met with little success. Recently, the government’s adoption of its “turning land into capital” strategy — designed to boost private land investment and development in order to increase national revenue and generate sufficient capital and technology to modernize rural land uses — has intensified the pressure on forest resources. This pressure on Laos’ forest resources is evident through the steady decline in national forest cover, from 49%...